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Gender differences and variability in creative ability: A systematic review and meta-analysis of the greater male variability hypothesis in creativity.

Society is largely shaped by creativity, making it critical to understand why, despite minimal mean gender differences in creative ability, substantial differences exist in the creative achievement of men and women. Although the greater male variability hypothesis (GMVH) in creativity has been proposed to explain women's underrepresentation as eminent creators, studies examining the GMVH are sparse and limited. This systematic review and meta-analysis were conducted to examine whether the GMVH in creativity can adequately explain the gender gap in creative achievement. We examined the GMVH in creativity, along with mean gender differences, in a range of indicators of creativity and across different sample characteristics and measurement approaches. Effect sizes ( k = 1,003) were calculated using information retrieved from 194 studies ( N = 68,525). Data were analyzed using three-level meta-analysis and metaregression and publication bias was evaluated using Egger's regression test and contour-enhanced funnel plots. Results revealed minimal gender differences overall, with a slight mean advantage for females ( g = -0.10, 95% CI [-0.13, -0.06]) and a trivial variability advantage for males (lnVR = 0.02, 95% CI [0.004, 0.04]) in creative ability scores. However, the magnitude of the effect sizes was moderated by creative domain, task type, scoring type, and study region for mean differences and by country-level gender egalitarianism values for variability. Taken together, gender differences in the mean and variability of creative ability scores are minimal and inconsistent across different contexts, suggesting that the GMVH may not provide much explanatory power for the gender gap in creative achievement. (PsycInfo Database Record (c) 2023 APA, all rights reserved).

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